(Short Poem) Days Of The Dead

Days Of The Dead

 

Today many went away

Were any of us crying

100 less to hear the next bomb

At a Rabbi’s home, 5 stabbed today

Humanity, where is your tears

Protesters in South Lebanon Stand Up to Attack, Threats

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Protesters in South Lebanon Stand Up to Attack, Threats

Tuesday, 10 December, 2019 – 10:45
Demonstrators wave Lebanese flags during a protest in Tripoli, Lebanon, November 2, 2019. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/File Photo
Beirut- Hanan Hamdan
Five years ago, the former Moukhtar [local head, selected for simple administrative tasks] of the town of Qulaila in South Lebanon, Mahmoud Saleh, could not find anyone to pay for his treatment when he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. This forced him to incur the cost of removing one of his kidneys, which amounted to 18,000 US dollars at the time, although he could not afford it.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Saleh said: “We took to public squares because of the difficult economic situation. Our politicians are responsible for this situation, and we are still here because they refuse to meet a single one of our demands. Those in power have clung to it for many years without even considering giving us our basic rights. We do not even have healthcare or pensions; instead, they have drowned us with debt.”

Protesters in Tyre, a city in south Lebanon, have been a vital part of the protest movement since it first erupted in October. They were met with repression, and the most prominent of which was when they were assaulted by partisans and had their tents destroyed at the Al-Alam Square. However, the scene hasn’t changed in the past few days, save the erection of new tents to the square, and the addition of a large tent meant to protect protesters from the rain, allowing them to continue to hold their debates and lectures. The square is also equipped with plastic chairs, mobile mattresses, and stoves to make tea and coffee.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Hassan Darwish, one of the young people who maintain a constant presence in the square, says: “The uprising in Tyre has not changed, and people’s determination has not been shaken. The people of Tyre will not leave the squares just like that, and we will persist until our demands are met”.

He points to the fact that internal debates are still being held at the square daily and that civil society initiatives are also ongoing. He also says that a new tent will soon be installed near the square “to support anyone in need by providing them with clothes and food. The basic idea behind it is that it will be accessible to every household and person. We have launched this symbolic initiative because of the difficult living conditions some of us in Tyre arrived at, with the minimum wage standing around 600,000 Lebanese pounds (400$ at the official rate but effectively much less). This isn’t enough for people to secure their basic needs”.

(VERY Sarcastic Poem: Don’t take this one seriously) Just Let The Poor Die

Just Let The Poor Die

 

Just let the poor disappear from my sight

Crime filled and dirty they are just a plight

They should all die and get off of my Earth

Why should real people care if they freeze

Like rabid rats they will steal just to eat

 

I created my wealth because I am from good stock and smart

So many poor just beggars not worthy of the air they breathe

Always demanding a free ride from real people the likes of me

If they haven’t a job thats their fault don’t you dare look at me

Harvesting them for parts is the only good that they ever will be

 

I own the factories, warehouses the politicians and the police

I use robots and computers to get rid of these beggars and thieves

Why should they live if they are only a cost for my family and me

Machines require no rest, insurance, pay raises or even work comp

The world is for the rich, I have no pity for the poor hungry sleaze

Migrants in Bosnia Face Horrific Conditions as Winter Descends

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WEATHER CHANNEL)

 

Migrants in Bosnia Face Horrific Conditions as Winter Descends (PHOTOS)

By Nicole Bonaccorso

6 days ago

weather.com

A migrant walks amid tents during snowfall at the Vucjak refugee camp outside Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Despite calls for their relocation before winter, hundreds of migrants remain stuck in a make-shift tent camp in northwestern Bosnia as a spate of snowy and cold weather hit the region. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
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A migrant walks amid tents during snowfall at the Vucjak refugee camp outside Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Despite calls for their relocation before winter, hundreds of migrants remain stuck in a make-shift tent camp in northwestern Bosnia as a spate of snowy and cold weather hit the region. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Several hundred migrants refused food and water on Tuesday to protest the horrible conditions in the makeshift camp in which they are living in northwestern Bosnia. The Vucjak camp houses about 600 migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and according to Reuters, the camp lacks running water and electricity and is located on a former landfill near a mine field leftover from the war in the early 1990s.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic is urging the immediate closure of Vucjak as the region experiences freezing weather and the first snowfall of the season. Aid agencies have long advised the closure of the camp, which is located about 5 miles from the Croatian border.

“Vucjak must be shut down today,” Mijatovic said. “Otherwise people here will start dying.”

Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia have closed their borders to undocumented immigration, leaving Bosnia with an upsurge in immigrants attempting to cross into the EU, while Bosnian authorities struggle to find a place for them. A new facility near Sarajevo won’t be ready to accommodate people for another 20 days, the Associated Press reported.

Fazil Rahman, one of the camp’s occupants from Afghanistan, told the Associated Press that migrants “don’t want the food… They don’t want it for lunch, they didn’t want it in the morning, they don’t want it at nighttime. People are asking just one question: to cross the border.”

Meanwhile, tents collapse under heavy snow, and some lack warm clothing and appropriate footwear for winter. In photos, migrants are seen walking in the snow in sandals, wrapping themselves in blankets in a futile attempt to keep warm.

“It should be closed as we speak,” Mijatovic said, according to BalkanInsight. “This is not a place for human beings.”

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

UN: Iranian Forces ‘Shooting to Kill’ Protesters, At Least 7,000 Held

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

UN: Iranian Forces ‘Shooting to Kill’ Protesters, At Least 7,000 Held

Friday, 6 December, 2019 – 12:45
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Asharq Al-Awsat
The United Nations said Friday that at least 7,000 people have “reportedly” been arrested in Iran since mass demonstrations erupted last month, adding Iranian security forces were “shooting to kill” in their deadly crackdown against protesters in recent weeks.

In a statement, the UN human rights office said it had obtained “verified video footage” showing security forces firing on protesters, apparently with intent to kill.

The rights office added that it had “information suggesting that at least 208 people were killed” during the unrest, echoing a count also tallied by Amnesty International.

“There are also reports, which the UN Human Rights Office has so far been unable to verify, suggesting more than twice that number killed,” the statement added.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said video obtained by her office shows “severe violence was used against protesters.”

“We have also received footage which appears to show security forces shooting unarmed demonstrators from behind while they were running away, and shooting others directly in the face and vital organs – in other words shooting to kill,” Bachelet said.

Additional video material shows “armed members of security forces shooting from the roof of a justice department building” in the city of Javanrud, west of Tehran in Kermanshah Province, as well as gunfire from helicopters in Sadra, in Fars Province.

The protests began on November 15 following a surprise hike in fuel prices.

Iran has yet to give overall figures for the number of people killed or arrested when security forces moved in to quell the unrest that saw buildings torched and shops looted.

Bachelet’s office said it had received many reports of ill-treatment against people arrested, “including with the apparent aim of extracting forced confessions.”

She charged that “many of the arrested protesters have not had access to a lawyer,” while raising alarm over “reports of severe overcrowding and harsh conditions in detention centers, which in some cities include military barracks, sports venues and schools.”

“I urge the authorities to immediately release from detention all protesters who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty,” she further said.

The demonstrations show the widespread economic discontent gripping Iran since May 2018, when President Donald Trump imposed crushing sanctions after unilaterally withdrawing the United States from the nuclear deal that Tehran struck with world powers.

Widely Respected Japanese Humanitarian Among 6 Killed In Afghanistan Attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Widely Respected Japanese Humanitarian Among 6 Killed In Afghanistan Attack

Tetsu Nakamura (right) is pictured in 2008 during a memorial service for a slain aid worker. The Japanese doctor was among six gunned down in an attack Wednesday in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad.

Rahmat Gul/AP

A prominent Japanese doctor who devoted his life to providing aid in Afghanistan was killed by unknown gunmen on Wednesday along with five Afghan colleagues. It’s the second attack on aid workers in the country in recent weeks.

Officials said Tetsu Nakamura, 73, was attacked while riding in an aid vehicle in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. He died of his wounds while he was being airlifted to a base for emergency care.

So far, there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. The Taliban denied involvement; ISIS is also active in the area.

Nakamura had recently been awarded honorary Afghan citizenship for his humanitarian work in the region, according to local officials. He headed the aid group Peace Japan Medical Services and served rural communities by providing health care and improving agriculture through irrigation projects.

The slaying of the native of Fukuoka, Japan, prompted an outpouring of grief from friends, colleagues and government officials. Many shared images of his work in the region on social media .

“Dr. Nakamura dedicated many years of his life in serving the needs of thousands of people by committing his precious time, energy and passion to turning a vast area of barren land into a green biologically productive, and henceforth bringing livelihood to the people of the region,” an Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement said Wednesday.

Nakamura first arrived in the region in 1984, when he began working in the Leprosy Ward of a Pakistani hospital. Several years later, after opening a clinic in Afghanistan, he identified malnourished as the root cause behind his patients’ health issues. This prompted his NGO to shift focus to building canal projects.

Locals credited Nakamura with transforming vast areas of desert into fertile farming land. He said on a Japanese public broadcast show that he found inspiration in the teachings of ancient Buddhist philosophy.

“Light up your corner of the world,” Nakamura told NHK’s OnDemand. “These were the words of Saichō, a Japanese Buddhist monk who lived over a thousand years ago, when he pondered the question of national treasures. He said that it wasn’t about trying to save every single person in the world or trying to make the whole world prosper.”

Wednesday’s attack is the latest killing of Afghanistan-based aid workers in recent weeks. A United Nations vehicle was heavily damaged by a bombing in late November, wounding five and killing one American worker.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR’s News Desk.

Are We All Equal And Even?

Are We All Equal And Even?

 

Good evening folks, as you can see I have decided to write to you on the subject matter of if we are all of equal value both in our own human eyes and in the eyes of our Creator. Let’s break the two words down separately for a moment, define them and see if they come back together in the end. I looked the words up in the Webster Dictionary and this is what it had to say. Equal: same in number, style, merit, fit or qualified, evenly balanced, one equal to another. Then for the word Even: uniform in quality, equal in amount, impartial, invites comparison.

 

I do hope that with age that we all do learn from the life that we have lived, good, bad and the ugliness of our societies we survive within. I know that our Lord said for us to “not put those of gray hair away, for in the gray hair on man lies the wisdom of the world.” I used to wonder for years how any of us humans could possibly think of ourselves as being superior or as subordinate to other people then at the age of 22 I had an eye opening reality slap me in the face and I was given the answer. At the age of 22 I left northern Illinois where I had lived for 12 years and moved back to the town I was born in which is in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia. From the ages of 10-17 I attended our local Church of Christ but from 17-22 I have to admit that I didn’t attend very often. So, when I moved back to the home of my family roots I decided that I would start going back to Church at their local Church of Christ.

 

I attended this Church for three weeks when on one Sunday evening the Preacher turned in his 30 day notice of his quitting. He and his family were not local folks, in fact they were “Yankees”, they were from the state of Pennsylvania so quite honestly I was a bit surprised that he had even even been hired there as some of the folks in that region are still fighting the Civil War within their own minds. That Sunday evening after the Preacher had given his notice I met him at the door and told him that I had been thinking about making this the Church the place I was going to be a regular at so could he tell me what was troubling him so much that he decided to quit and leave the area. What the man told be both shocked me and woke me up at the same time. What he said was that it is the Church Leadership’s opinion here that the only people who have Souls, are white people. Seriously, that is what he said, I never ever stepped foot in that building again.

 

For years I had wondered how it was possible that some people throughout history to treat each other as horribly as we have. How was it possible for the atrocities of the slave trade of years ago and to this current date? How was it possible that the government of our Nation (USA) to have ever worked to eliminate a whole race of people like they did all throughout the 1800’s with the Native Americans. How could a government or a major ruling race say to another that “you are less than I am because you don’t have the same skin color as me or because your religion is somewhat different than what we believe.” How phony can a person or persons be? One of the thoughts that I have pondered throughout the years is just how does a person think they will be able to justify their ego’s and their hatreds when they step in front of the Judgement Seat of our Creator? How could it be possible for me to believe that it is okay with our Creator for me to treat people of a different skin color or from another country than I am as if they are less important than I am?

 

Friends, it took me a long time before I finally understood this reality, it took me a long time to “get it.” People treat other people as ‘sub-humans’ because that is what they believe inside themselves. This ‘truth’ is both sad and scary at the same time. This reality does also extend to financial class hatred of each other. Things like I hate you because you are richer than me or, I hate you because you have less than me. So many do try to puff their own selves up by squashing and demeaning all others. Truly, Demons do walk this Earth among us and they are as starving Lions looking for whom they may devour. The truth is that many people actually do believe that all other people are ‘less’ than they are. That at best, only a few other people are Equal to themselves. Many people of this egotistical world do not believe that others should be considered or treated as “Even” or allowed onto the playing field of life with themselves.

 

Jesus tells us plainly over and over again that God IS NOT a respecter of persons. He is telling us that one person is not better than another. Whether we are a King, a President or a person who cleans toilets for a living and lives under a bridge, we are all of equal importance to God our Creator. Salvation is given by God to all people of the Earth, to all Nations, to all Languages. Why is it that some of us humans seem to think that we can slander God’s human creations and demean them? How is it possible that we can think we will not be held accountable by our own Creator of these sins? Friends, it is all of us who are not “Equal, Even” or sufficient, not of our own abilities. It is only by the Mercy, Grace and Power of our Creator that any of us have ever drawn a single breath. Folks it is by our ‘works, our actions’ that we are known. If we hate our brother without a cause, we at our own Judgement will be looked upon by the Hosts of Heaven, God’s Angels and our Creator Himself as nothing more than a murderer.

 

Just think of this, if we humans would do this one thing, to love one another as Jesus has loved us, then most of the worlds ills would go away. Love, kindness, goodness, charity, and mercy, what an abstract thought in our society today. When a child comes forth out of the womb it is Equal, it is Even, it is the humans around the child that teaches them both truth and errors, love and hate.

Ashrawi Accuses Israel of Expelling Witnesses to Its Oppressive Practices

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Ashrawi Accuses Israel of Expelling Witnesses to Its Oppressive Practices

Tuesday, 26 November, 2019 – 12:30
HRW’s Omar Shakir at Ben Gurion Airport after being expelled from Israel. (File photo: AFP)
Tel Aviv- Asharq Al-Awsat
Israeli authorities expelled Monday Human Rights Watch (HRW) Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir after Israel’s Supreme Court had upheld the government’s deportation order on November 5 and gave him until November 25 to leave.

Israel argues that Shakir actively supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He denies that his HRW work and pro-Palestinian statements he made before being appointed to the HRW post in 2016 constitute active support for BDS.

Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), slammed the deportation as an Israeli desperate measure to conceal its war crimes and violations.

Ashrawi said that expelling Shakir is a desperate action consistent with the unlawful practices of the occupation regime. She described it as an alarming wake-up call to all those who seek peace and justice for both sides that Israel will resort to extreme measures to hide the truth.

“Israel is getting rid of local and international witness of its crimes,” she warned.

HRW held a press conference in Jerusalem hours before Shakir’s departure flight and indicated that Shakir would continue his role remotely from Amman, Jordan, relying on a network of researchers in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza to conduct fieldwork.

Shakir condemned the decision as an escalating assault on the human rights movement.

“If the Israelis can deport somebody documenting rights abuse without facing consequences, how can we ever stop rights abuse?” said Shakir.

Speaking at the conference, he said that Israel joins the likes of Venezuela and Iran in barring Human Rights Watch researchers, but it, too, will not succeed in hiding its human rights abuses.

“This decision shows why the international community must reboot its approach to Israel’s deteriorating human rights record. A government that expels a leading human rights investigator is not likely to stop its systematic oppression of Palestinians under occupation without much greater international pressure.”

India: A year after 377 verdict: Long battle for civil rights

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

A year after 377 verdict: Long battle for civil rights still ahead

It’s been a year since the Supreme Court read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code

INDIA Updated: Sep 06, 2019 07:09 IST

Dhamini Ratnam and Dhrubo Jyoti
Dhamini Ratnam and Dhrubo Jyoti

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The bill, first moved by the government in 2015, has been mired in controversy with many activists complaining it falls short of safeguarding their rights.
The bill, first moved by the government in 2015, has been mired in controversy with many activists complaining it falls short of safeguarding their rights.(Sushil Kumar/HT FILE PHOTO)

A year ago, the Supreme Court handed victory to 34 people from across India who challenged Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a British-era law that criminalized consensual, adult, same-sex relationships and fostered a climate of fear and discrimination against the entire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Now, petitioners and other members of the community say that although Section 377 was read down on September 6, 2018, the legal battle for their civil rights has only just begun.

According to them, the right to own and inherit property, nominate their same-sex partners on hospital and insurance forms, and receive legal recognition of same-sex relationships and marriage were some of the main demands. Other petitions pertaining to reservations for trans persons in government jobs and educational institutions, and seeking the formation of Transgender Welfare Boards, among other things, are in the works.

“When I get calls from young people all over India, they want marriage, insurance, civil and economic rights. The cap on the bottle has been removed. It will be a multi-pronged fight,” said Menaka Guruswamy, senior Supreme Court advocate and one of the lawyers in the main Section 377 case titled Navtej Johar versus Union of India.

Analysis | 377: What we won, what remains

The preparations have already begun. Lucknow-based petitioner Arif Jafar said he and his lawyers were finalizing a petition to ask for same-sex partners to be allowed to nominate each other in insurance and property documents. Hotelier Keshav Suri said he was working on a petition asking for spousal recognition and benefits — such as joint bank accounts.

“We may not immediately ask for marriage equality, because that is a longer battle but start on the lower-hanging fruit,” said the 34-year-old, who is married to a French man. “My marriage is recognised in France but not here, I want to change that,” he added, but cautioned that consultations and strategising had not happened yet.

Another petitioner, Suma, a trans woman, will soon petition the Karnataka administrative tribunal over reservations for a government position.

Bengaluru-based activist Akkai Padmashali said the past year had seen greater recognition of LGBT rights by bureaucrats, but raised issue with the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019, which was recently passed by the Lok Sabha. “If it passes in its current form, I will have no choice but challenge it in the SC,” she said.

The bill, first moved by the government in 2015, has been mired in controversy with many activists complaining it falls short of safeguarding their rights.

The Human Rights law Network (HRLN) will soon file public interest litigation’s for several transgender petitioners asking states to take steps for framing social welfare schemes, including setting up Transgender Welfare Boards, providing identity cards, toilets, and free medical care, a lawyer at HRLN said.

In July, trans activist Grace Banu filed a public interest litigation in the Madras high court seeking reservation for trans persons in education and public employment. Currently, Tamil Nadu allows reservation in the Most Backward Classes category. The petition seeks separate reservation for those persons who identify as trans.

“After the Section 377 verdict, people expected things to change much faster than they have on the ground, with problems of lack of shelter homes/safe houses, sensitive police machinery, lawyers and judges still very much present. In fact, the real struggle begins after the positive court orders where the courts have reaffirmed their right to choice, and people struggle to find jobs, rented houses while facing constant emotional pressure from families to come back,” said Delhi-based lawyer Amritananda Chakravorty.

On September 6, the Delhi high court will hear a habeas corpus case involving a lesbian in her 30’s, who was allegedly separated from her partner by her family. The woman who is married and is reportedly a victim of domestic violence, has been staying at a city shelter home in the city.

Over the past 12 months, judgments in various high courts around the country expanded the scope of human rights for LGBT people. In October 2018, a trans man named Jeeva petitioned the Karnataka high court to change his name and gender on his school and college certificates. The judge directed the state’s education department to ensure that other trans persons are able to do the same without the court’s further intervention in this matter.

In April 2019, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court upheld the marriage between a man and a trans woman, who approached the court after registration authorities refused to recognize the union, saying that a trans woman couldn’t be considered a bride under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

This was the first judgment in India where the right to marry under Article 21 of the Constitution was affirmed for transgender persons, noted the Bengaluru-based Centre for Law and Policy Research.

There are other challenges, too. In October 2018, the SC dismissed a petition seeking civil rights for the LGBT community and refused to review the decision in July 2019 – saying the issue had already been dealt with in Navtej Johar vs Union of India.

Guruswamy said the next battle for LGBT rights may be a case in a district court that eventually gets bumped up to the apex court on appeal.

“Young people are already approaching district and high courts, police stations and registrars and demanding their rights. That is the way the next big case will come,” she added.

First Published: Sep 06, 2019 05:27 IST

Saudi: Richard Gere Visits Migrants Stuck in Mediterranean

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Richard Gere Visits Migrants Stuck in Mediterranean

Friday, 9 August, 2019 – 11:45
Actor Richard Gere, right, talks with migrants aboard the Open Arms Spanish humanitarian boat as it cruises in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Valerio Nicolosi)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Actor Richard Gere visited on Friday rescued migrants on board a humanitarian ship that has been stuck in the Mediterranean Sea for over a week.

The Hollywood star took food and supplies by boat to 121 people aboard the ship of Barcelona-based Open Arms charity.

The ship has been floating in international waters near the Italian island of Lampedusa after being blocked from entering ports in Italy and Malta.

The 69-year-old actor carried fruit boxes on board and spoke to several migrants who had fled war-torn Libya on un-seaworthy smuggling boats before being rescued.

Gere urged the world to “please support us here on Open Arms and help these people, our brothers and sisters.”

Other European countries have yet to respond to the aid group’s request for a solution to the impasse over the rescue ship.

The European Commission should help the migrants, European Parliament speaker David Sassoli said in a letter on Thursday to the EU executive’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Charity rescue boats have largely disappeared from the Mediterranean over the last year as governments have tightened controls and those that have rescued migrants have faced lengthy standoffs trying to disembark them.